Canada and Finland to Square off for World Championship

Five days after Finland routed Canada 4-0 to end the preliminary round in Group B, the two hockey powers will square off with the gold medal on the line Sunday.

Canada advanced to the gold medal game by defeating the United States 4-3 in a high-scoring contest. The Canadians jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the opening period with goals from Brendan Gallagher and Brad Marchand. Gallagher’s goal came when Boone Jenner rifled a pass across the ice that was initially saved by Keith Kincaid but Gallagher was there to put the rebound inside the far side crossbar.

Marchand’s goal came on a one-on-one rush with Jake McCabe, Marchand got tied up and passed the puck to a trailing Cody Ceci and Ceci passed the puck back to Marchand who found a tight opening close to the goal line to score his fourth goal of the tournament.

The American’s came back in the second period with three straight goals. Auston Matthews got the United States on the board 1:14 into the second period when he fired a slap shot from the top of the circle that took a deflection before flying past Cam Talbot’s glove.

David Warsofsky tied the game at 3:57 when he fired a wrister past Talbot’s stick. The American’s took a 3-2 lead when former University of Michigan stars J. T. Compher and Dylan Larkin assisted on Tyler Motte’s first goal of the tournament at 8:25.

Canada’s Derick Brassard evened the score on the power play at 15:30 when the United States got caught with their backs turned to the puck that squirted out from a scrum where Brassard was open to score on an open net. They won the game in the third period when defenseman Ryan Ellis streaked down the right side where he was lightly covered by Steven Santini and ripped a slap shot from the point past Kincaid.

Kincaid made 23 saves while Talbot turned back 27 of 30 shots.

Finland’s game against Russia was close in the opening stages but Finland used three goals in the middle period to lift them to a 3-1 win.

The Russians scored first 2:52 into the game when Sergei Shirokov followed up his rebound scored his third goal of the tournament. That would be all of the scoring the host country had as Finland’s Sebastian Aho scored twice on the power play. Hist first goal came when he took a pass from Mikael Granlund and fired a one-timer past Sergei Bobrovsky.

After Jussi Jokinen’s even strength tally at 15:50 gave them the lead, Aho’s second goal of the night came when he tapped a rebound after the puck bounced through traffic and he put the puck past Bobrovsky.

The Russians fired 13 shots on Mikko Koskinen in the third period, including five from Alexander Ovechkin. But that wasn’t enough as Finland advanced to their second gold medal game in three years. Canada, the defending champions, are trying to become the third nation to win consecutive golds this century. Czech Republic won three straight from 1999-2001, Canada went back to back in 2003-04 and Russia won back to back titles in 2008-09. Start time for this game is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. EDT on NBC Sports Live Extra.

In the bronze medal game, Russia is trying to win their first bronze since 2007 when they defeated Sweden. The United States is playing in the consolation game for the second straight time and third in the last four years. This is quite an impressive feat for Team USA considering how young the players on the roster are. Start time for this game is scheduled for 9:00 a.m. EDT on NBC Sports Live Extra.

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